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How to Deal with Employee Excuses: 22 Effective Tips


As an employer you must be tired of listening to various excuses that employees come with especially when there is a new project, report to be submitted or when a work’s due is nearing. In situations like these you are left confused as to whether sympathize or somehow get the work done.

And under the confusion you choose to let go and say that you are okay with it and that you will handle it. The problem is when an employee always turns up with some excuse and you accept them. It will become easy for your employees to walk all over you and your power. To help yourself deal with the employee excuses try the below given points and create a sense of accountability amongst your employees.

deal with employee excusesTired of Employee Excuses? Tips for Dealing with them:

1. Lead by role model instance:

When an employee makes excuses do not encourage it by making excuse to your seniors, regarding why the particular employee could not complete a work. People lead by example and if you set this example as a role model other employees will be taking heed to this behavior of yours as well as follow.

2. Immediate actions:

Do not wait and anticipate that the employee who is giving you excuses will realize his mistake on his own. Or if they claim they are not working on something because of lack of knowledge then do not just wait that they will learn things by themselves and think you really do not need to be bothered.

3. Take time to respond:

The moment you come across such an employee, you need to take some time to reply to them. Plan something effective to demonstrate that you are not happy with this behavior and respond to them in a manner so they realize their mistake and never do the same again.

4. Stop saying that it is fine:

When employees turn in to your office with excuses that they could not complete a work as they carry a lot on their plate already or they got no time. You may sympathize believing that they really might have been working hard or they might have really missed a task over other tasks and you end up saying that it is just fine. If you are habitually using the phrase that, “it is fine” then you must alter your habit immediately.

5. Display disappointment:

It is certainly obvious that you must not go to the extremes and treat the employee harshly, however show them that you are disappointed in them. Maybe not particularly in words but demonstrate it in your actions and reactions that you expected more from the employee. You must describe them that their actions have not only affected you, but also the overall company’s production. Soon they will realize their mistake.

6. Ask them questions:

You must try to get a clear picture by asking the employee questions and discuss it out with them. It is important to ask open ended questions. This will really compel the employees to think on their excuses. With this practice you can practically reach the roots of the excuse.

7. Utilize empathy:

You must utilize empathy to demonstrate the employee that you really care and listen to what they have to say. During this exercise try to be in the shoes of the employee and analyze what is making them feel the way they are feeling and why they are feeling so.

When you empathize it is not necessary that you agree or disagree to what and why the employee is feeling but it only helps you to understand where they are hanging.

8. Express concern:

When you get some answers from the employees you can accordingly take some actions. There are chances you find out that there are some reasonable issues that might have to be tackled.

It is at times tricky to spot the employee who really lacks resources to finish off a task from an employee who will just not convey he needs help with some efforts. As a manager, it becomes your duty to dig up details and act upon it.

9. Convince through benefits:

Communicate to the employee to convey them what benefits are in it for them. You must stimulate the employee and for that you must be well aware as to what motivates an employee and then utilize that knowledge, to help release their potential and overcome excuses.

10. Establish expectations for the next time:

It is not necessary that an employee is well aware about the expectation of the company. So for the next time you must explain the expectations to the employee. If they find some trouble fulfilling any of the expectations you must try and help them out.

11. Discuss roles and motives:

You cannot just assume that an employee is well known with the company’s motives and goals or the employee roles. You must initiate to discuss with them every particular goal and duties so that any doubts they hold get clarified.

There can even be chances that employees have misunderstood a goal or a role and are frustrated because they cannot do well.

12. Do not take on the responsibility yourself:

Do not take the responsibility of an employee all by yourself. You must positively tell them that a task or assignment is totally the employee’s responsibility and you can do nothing to help with their work other than advice.

13. Do not become a parent or a counselor:

If the employees come up to you with their personal problems and issues of their personal life as an excuse, be cautious not to fall prey into it and begin with giving support and advice or even counseling. Remind yourself, you are only officially related with the employee.

14. Do not focus on the reasons:

Do not focus and keep listening to why the employee could not complete a work given. You need to make clear that whatever the reason might be it is not expected to happen again. You must ask for solutions for the issue at hand and not just keep entertaining the reasons.

15. Do not solve the problem for them:

When an employee gives an excuse, you must not come up with a solution but should let know the employee that he is absolutely responsible and with effective ideas must solve the problem.

16. Never Argue:

Do not start arguing when you are encountering an employee with excuse. Do not get angry on them as you will eventually lose the employee trust or worst the employee itself.

17. Practice honesty with employees:

You must effectively encourage the employee with an excuse to tell you the truth. Show that you care and you do not mean to be mad at him, just convey them that the regular excuses have been suspicious and you need to get an honest answer.

You must practice the honesty pattern always so that the employees remain honest with you at all times and stop excuses from them completely.

18. Behavioral excuses:

There exist many employees who exceed expectations and so behave in a manner that is not accepted as per the company culture and provide you excuse why they behaved in a manner they did.

But the managers tend to ignore them and let such employees run over them just because they do not want to lose this excellent employee.

19. Let employees know you have the power:

Clarify to the top employees that such behaviors will not be entertained irrespective of their work results. You should let them know that because the top employees influence the rest of the employees, even others get influenced when the best employees involve in some poor behavior like turning up late to work or do a good work but always cross the deadlines.

20. Monitor:

Avoid micro-management but be the responsible monitor. You surely need to show that you trust in employee’s proficiency to take decisions, however to make the trust evident you must scrutinize the performance of the employee to check if they meet expectations. Monitoring can turn to be a very effective constructive activity among the managers and employees.

21. Learn to identify unproductive employees:

The unproductive employees will be the one always turning up with excuses in which they point out a fraction of an allotted project that doesn’t come beneath their job description or say that they were not told what to do or worst utilize the excuse that they fear failure and hence will not complete a work assigned.

22. Let go off the unproductive employees:

The productive employees are the ones who do all sorts of work, even those which do not come under their role description and take up steps independently to finish off a work.

The productive employee doesn’t feel any panic and will not seek for benefits for themselves. Yes, there exist such people and therefore it is necessary for you to let go, the employee, who you spot as unproductive.

Conclusion :

It doesn’t matter what kind of team you are leading, remember these three techniques to make sure that your employees follow their commitments; firstly, clarifying expectations and roles, secondly, determining the timetable for completion of the work, and lastly, setting checkpoints to make sure that significant targets are being reached.

In due course, you will deliver your message to the employees that you are not ready to resolve for anything but the best and hence they will understand that there is no way for their excuses to flood in.